- Annie Is Wonderful, Wonderful, So They Say 7/27/2006 12:00:00 AM by bkoganbing
Despite the fact that Ethel Merman wasn't even considered by MGM to repeat her Broadway triumph and Judy Garland fell by the way side, Annie Get Your Gun is still as alive and as fresh as the day it debuted on Broadway and for 1147 performances starting in 1946. It was Irving Berlin's biggest stage success both quantitatively and qualitatively. It sure had the most hit songs coming out of it, maybe the most for any Broadway show.
Because they had Garland, so they thought at MGM, for box office, producer Arthur Freed felt they could go with an unknown for Frank Butler. Both John Raitt and Howard Keel tested for the role and Keel won the toss. Then Keel broke his ankle falling off a horse on the set and they shot closeups and around him, putting pressure on Judy Garland's fragile psyche. On top of that Frank Morgan who was playing Buffalo Bill died suddenly in the middle of the film. Most of it had to be reshot when Betty Hutton was borrowed from Paramount.
Annie Get Your Gun was the perfect musical to appeal to the Rosie the Riveter crowd who competed and won in a man's world during World War II. Those women who became feminist icons certainly identified with another feminist icon in Annie Oakley.
The real Annie Oakley was not as brassy as her character in Annie Get Your Gun. By all accounts Phoebe Annie Mosee, aka Annie Oakley was a quiet retiring woman when away from the spotlight. She let her skill with weaponry do her talking.
Irving Berlin wrote so many hits out of this film it's staggering. Ballads like They Say It's Wonderful and The Girl That I Marry were recorded by many artists down to the present. My Defenses are Down also sold quite a few platters back in the day.
But of course the theatrical profession got its anthem when Irving Berlin wrote There's No Business Like Show Business. There's a really fine recording of it that Bing Crosby, Dick Haymes and the Andrews Sisters did of it with the flipside being Anything You Can Do also another gem from this show.
Some songs didn't make the cut. A good one that Ethel Merman did called I Got Lost in His Arms is absent from this film, a pity. And Berlin wrote a song called Let's Go West Again which was to be done on the cattle boat by Hutton and the ensemble was cut. Al Jolson made a recording of it for Decca though.
Louis Calhern and Edward Arnold as Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill play a fine pair of frontier rogues. Calhern captured the character of the real later Cody quite well.
With feminist issues by now means settled, Annie Get Your Gun is maybe more relevant now than when it first came out.
- Betty Hutton, Betty Hutton and Betty Hutton 1/26/2002 12:00:00 AM by Bob-45
Despite some INCREDIBLE mistakes by MGM executives, "Annie Get Your Gun" is a terrific movie, a triumph for three reasons: Betty Hutton, Betty Hutton and Betty Hutton. Those who might quibble that "Garland would have been a LOT better" should take an objective look at the the outtakes on the DVD. Garland is terrible; way too modern, urbane and understated for the "larger than life" role of Annie Oakley. Rogers and Hammerstein understood what type of person ot took to
play Annie. That's why they hired Ethyl Merman, who triumphed on Broadway in the role. I've always loved Garland and always considered Hutton to be too bombastic. But, here, she is perfect and carries this movie on her the strengh of her "hit 'em in the rafters" performance. In fact, only four actors play it right. Hutton, Brad Muro (Lil' Jake), J. Carroll Naish (Sitting Bull) and Keenan Wynn. Louis Calhern is usually wonderful; here, his continental, understated style is horribly out of place, turning "Buffalo Bill" into a bore . The usually reliable Edward Arnold seems lost in his unattractive "Pawnee Bill" makeup. Perhaps the biggest disappointment, however, is Howard Keel, who displays little of the charm he revealed in the same year's "Calloway Went Thataway". This MUST have been the decision of Louis Mayer and George Sidney. Hutton reported that Mayer didn't want her, had no confidence in her and didn't even invite her to the New York premiere. Hutton, radiant even at 80, revealed to Robert Osborne, that she was so miserable by her treatment at MGM (no one applauded ANYONE at the end of shooting a scene), that it finished her career (though another triumph for Hutton, "The Greatest Show on Earth" was just two years away).
Despite its flaws, "Annie Get Your Gun" is a keeper. Why? Betty Hutton, Betty Hutton and Betty Hutton.
- Hutton was great! 1/20/2005 12:00:00 AM by edesmond
I disagree with the previous reviewer who said Garland would have been better in this role. Betty Hutton was great. She may not have been the singer that Garland was, but she did a excellent job of looking really unpolished in the beginning and cleaning up to be a very attractive woman. Her portrayal of Annie has a lot personality and humor. If you rent or buy the anniversary tape or DVD for this movie, they've included some scenes that had been already shot with Judy before they decided to recast her role. There is no comparison. Judy was not up to the role at that point in her life and it really shows. I'm glad Betty was cast. I think it's a great movie/musical due to her performance.
- Betty Hutton makes this film! 10/31/2005 12:00:00 AM by brennans-1
This really is one of the greatest musicals ever written. It has 11 songs of which 10 are instantly memorable (only "I'm an Indian Too" is not up to scratch). The scene "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" is one of my favourite screen moments. I never grew up with this film (I'm 37) since it was never on TV screens on the UK due to legal wrangling. I had to make do with the inferior (but still good!) Calamity Jane. Betty Hutton's performance is one of the great musical performances- up there with Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. She carries the whole film. I cannot believe anyone who thinks that Judy Garland would be better. I have shown this film to all of my friends and relatives (sad, I know!) and all of them without exception agree that Judy Garland is no patch on Betty Hutton-she is too refined and completely miscast! The deleted song "Going West Again" is fantastic and should have been included in the stage show and film.
- A True Classic Movie 2/23/2000 12:00:00 AM by namcpeart
I saw Annie Get Your Gun as a teenager at our local small town movie. I loved it. The comedic energy of Betty Hutton and the chemistry between her and the talented Howard Keel was unforgettable. I have tried for years to find the video, writing and phoning various sources. With the revival of "Annie" on Broadway, I was hoping MGM would realize what a treasure they have in the 1950 version and issue it on video. It's good to know I'm not the only one wanting to see this wonderful movie again. They don't make musicals like that anymore.